Janet R. Martin passed away on Saturday, August 17, 2013. She was the third child of Harvey and Elsie (Toepfer) Johannsen. She was born February 3, 1944 at the family home (a small farm south of Wagner, SD). Her brothers, Joel and James were six and four, respectively. She was baptized in her home on a Saturday evening as a blizzard prevented travel to church for the occasion.
By the time Janet could start walking, it was evident that something was wrong with her hips. The diagnosis was congenital hip dislocation. Several years of braces, casts, crutches and surgeries ensued. It obviously worked…her legs carried her many miles.
Janet was a good student throughout her school years. She was extremely shy when she started High School but her kind ways and sense of humor quickly expanded her friendships and in the fall of her Senior year she was chosen Homecoming Queen. That is also when she met Doug Martin and found there was more to life than homework! In the spring of 1962 she and Doug were engaged. She did, however, manage to graduate as Co-Salutatorian of her class later that spring.
Doug and Janet were married that summer. They moved to Brookings where Doug enrolled in Electrical Engineering at SDSU. Their daughters Cindy (Krall) and Kristy were born during their early college years. Janet spent most of her time caring for the girls but also found time to waitress, take in ironing and provide daycare for two or three additional children. In her free time, she spent hours at her sewing machine making most of the clothing that she and the girls wore.
Upon Doug’s graduation (1966) the family moved to Mitchell. Her early years were filled with caring for the children, her home and assisting Doug in his business. When the girls were in the 2nd and 3rd grade she began work as a teacher’s aide at Longfellow School. She worked there until the family moved to a home they built in the country. She was heavily involved in her daughters' lives (Girl Scout leader, 4-H leader) but it wasn’t long until the girls were far less dependent on their Mom and Janet decided it was time to further her education.
In 1977 she enrolled in classes at DWU. For the next four and half years she studied business and psychology. In the spring of 1981, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees in both her fields of interest.
The years that followed were filled with the girls’ activities in high school and college as well as work on “the farm”. Doug and Janet loved life in the country and their dabbling in cattle and horses mushroomed over the years. Janet was in charge of the operation.
In 1987 Janet finally reached the end of the line on treatment of arthritis in her hips by means of medication. Thus began her journey of numerous hip replacements. The combination of the girls moving on in their occupations and her own physical restrictions resulted in the decision to “retire” from farming. A new way of life was around the bend.
In 1995, Doug and Janet joined the ranks of grandparents. Matthew Krall became their first. It was an easy transition for Janet as she always thought there was no greater joy in the world than that of holding a small baby. When that small baby was six months old he was joined by his sister, Taylor. If joy can be doubled it was so for Grandma. In December of 1998, Janet experienced the crushing blow of the death of her brother, James (the last member of her family). The birth of James Krall on the day of James Johannsen’s death was God’s gift to Grandma.
The year 2005, marked the beginning of trying times. Janet was on her fourth round of hip replacements. She was barely back to normal functioning when Doug was diagnosed with incurable small cell lung cancer. The man she’d known and loved since she was 18 died August 5, 2006.
The past seven years were a testimony to her grit. Her spirit was indomitable but her body simply would not cooperate. Despite her frustration over having to regress to walking with a cane she never gave up hope. After all, “things might get better in the next 5 minutes”.
Janet Ruth Johannsen Martin lived a humble yet awe inspiring life. She will not be long forgotten.